: Twighlight zone



Hoosier Daddy
04-10-13, 07:30 PM
Ever find yourself in a situation where things don't quite make sense?. (BTW I'm not asking member CDN XTS who Cadillac told him he couldn't save his CUE settings because that was a feature for European owners who needed them for tax purposes!).

Anyway, my Federal e-filing was rejected because they already received a return with my SSN. Ohh Ohh. So I called the IRS. What a joke. Their phone menu systems had absolutely no options that fit what I was calling about. So I had to make bogus choices in the hope I'd eventually get to a human who could somehow put me thru to someone who could help. Of course I had to go down several rabbit holes that never got to a human before i got lucky.

They confirmed a joint return had been filed with my name, SSN and address and a $5,000 refund had been electronically deposited in the filer's bank account. Double ohhhh ohhhh because now I'm thinking someone may also be trying to get credit somewhere with my identity. Up to then I assumed someone just mistyped their SSN on a return.

The IRS said I need to fill out a special form (affidavit of fraud) and submit it with my return. I said I hope the IRS can get their money back. She said they probably wouldn't in a kind of "we don't really care" way. But she seemed to perk up a bit when she said it would probably take a LONG time now for me to get MY refund. When I informed her I make sure I always owe money, she actually seemed disappointed.

I got to thinking how anyone could extract money from the IRS that easily. I mean they obviously didn't have any real W2s, 1099s, etc.. And even if they made paper fakes, aren't all those documents checked against electronic versions submitted by the employers, financial institutions, etc? Apparently you can open a bank account and file a return that claims any amount for a refund and the IRS will just transfer the money to your account. Then again, I guess since its not their money anyway, why should they care! There's more tax payers where those came from.

I contacted the FTC and reported the situation. The FTC was a very class act. no long waits, Intelligent people, even a phone system that doesn't require the majority of callers to actually have to "press 1 for English".

Then I went to the site where you can get a copy of your credit report from all 3 bureaus once a year for free to see what other bad surprises were in store for me. Of course they have to verify who they are giving the report to, so the web site asks you questions based on your file (anyone see what's wrong with that picture?). One of the questions was which of the following institutions did I pay off an auto loan at in 2009? Well I haven't applied for a loan or any credit this century (and then some), so I clicked on "none of the above". Bang! Wrong answer so we can't provide a report on-line. call this number: xxxxxxxx. Triple ohhh ohhhh but also first real WTF? Ohh ohhh because apparently someone with my ID paid off a car loan in 2009. WTF because why commit auto loan fraud if you are going to make every payment. I mean, if someone using my identity skipped off with a car without making loan payments, I assume I would have heard about it in less than 4 years. I havn't moved in over 25 years. I called their phone number which was nothing but an automated maze that does nothing but eventually tell you you can request a copy of your report by sending a letter with a copy of all sorts of id. Expect it to take about a month to receive it!!

So I found a service associated one of my financial institutions that offers a 1 month trial for $1. After confirming I wouldn't have to accurately answer a question about a bogus account I new nothing about (auto loan from 2009), I signed up and had a copy of all 3 reports on line in just a few minutes.

Everything was fine.

Now puzzle me this:

If the credit bureaus refused to show me my report because I didn't know who I had a (fraudulent) car loan with, why was there no record in my report of ANY such car loan?

Likewise there were no bogus bank accounts set up to receive fraudulent IRS refunds. And that means the refund went to an account in someone else's name which in turn implies the IRS doesn't even care who's name is on the account a bogus income tax refund is wired to!!!

And (as it should be) there had been NO requests for a credit check from any institute since prehistoric times. That seems to imply that scamming the IRS is so easy, traditional credit fraud isn't even worth the time and trouble. Or maybe that the word is out that the IRS doesn't bother to try to get bogus refunds back (which was the impression I got talking to them) while a bank would hunt them to the ends of the earth.

I guess I'll never figure out how someone got all 3 of my name, SSN and address. I was in charge of computer security for an organization with billions of dollars of annual revenues so I know how to keep information safe and definitely practice that. I can only think of 4 ways this could have happened (in order of likelihood):

1. Some financial institute I have an account with or the Feds themselves got hacked (or social engineered) at some point.

2. I had numerous banker boxes of personal documents from the 80's and 90's shredded in 2012 by OfficeMax. The documents get deposited in a lock box at OfficeMax and a 3rd party security firm picks them up and shreds them. maybe one of their people was stealing identities. I'll change where I have large volumes shredded.

3. I did have some home repairs done in 2012 (prior to the mass shredding) and could not observe all the trades people every minute. Still this kind of information was only in boxes deep in a closet, didn't list their contents and never appeared to be disturbed.

4. Some Stuxnet class malware. As I said, I know how to secure a computer and I know what to do and don't do. In addition to realtime protection, I regularly run bootable scanners to make sure no malware is cloaking itself. Never a hint.

Actually a 5th possibility just hit me and if true someone will be doing my tax returns for free for life. Maybe my tax preparer accidentally added my name, SSN and address to someone else's return (as a spouse). Sounds very unlikely because it would require that person to never even look at their own return. But this possibility would explain why no other fraud has been attempted. Which would just leave the mystery of why the credit bureaus refused to give me my reports because I didn't know what bank I had a non-existent auto loan with!!!

Ohh did I mention dealing with this is how I spent my birthday :( (Just throwing that in to help any other crooks who want a piece of me).

Ranger
04-10-13, 08:37 PM
60 Minutes just did a piece on this a couple of weeks ago. It's MUCH bigger than you may think.

EChas3
04-10-13, 09:18 PM
You haven't got a clue how easy ID theft is. Get lifelock, the equivilent or a rider on your homeowners (the cheapest option).

Hoosier Daddy
04-10-13, 10:22 PM
You haven't got a clue how easy ID theft is.
Nobody in my seminars about it asked for a refund. :)


Get lifelock, the equivilent or a rider on your homeowners (the cheapest option).
Two things: (1) you can do everything Lifelock does to PREVENT credit theft yourself for free or nominal one time fees. Aside from that, they may help spot theft sooner AFTER it happens and will hold your hand getting it fixed. (2) I was not a victim of identity theft or credit fraud; the IRS was the victim, apparently from being dumber than a rock.

My post was about how stupid the IRS seems to be and the mystery of why credit bureaus simultaneously believed I had a car loan in 2009 and also that I did NOT have a car loan in 2009 (or any other year).

CadillacLuke24
04-11-13, 12:13 AM
Good grief dude. Hopefully you can get it sorted out. Just reading it makes my head spin.

Hoosier Daddy
04-11-13, 12:57 AM
Good grief dude. Hopefully you can get it sorted out. Just reading it makes my head spin.
Thanks.

I think I'm done.

As I said, I wasn't a victim, the IRS was and they seem to understand that. There is NOTHING incorrect or negative in my credit reports and nobody had tried to access it or get credit for many many years. I'll keep an alert on for a while (anyone can do that for free) to be notified if anyone makes an inquiry or tries to get credit.

I doubt I'll get an answer for the amount of time I'm willing to spend (basically no more) but there is something very strange about the fact that my reports show no auto loans, but at the same time the bureaus initially refused to let me see the reports (multiple times) because I couldn't tell them who I had a loan with. That's the twilight zone aspect.

truckinman
04-11-13, 08:34 AM
Hm. When we tried doing my taxes on line, we needed to request a pin from another site by simply giving my soc number. We did it several times, but each time it told me my social that I was entering was the one they had on file. Thought that was odd enough. Still haven't figured that one out. Had to mail in my tax forms instead.

Hoosier Daddy
04-11-13, 08:58 AM
Hm. When we tried doing my taxes on line, we needed to request a pin from another site by simply giving my soc number. We did it several times, but each time it told me my social that I was entering was the one they had on file. Thought that was odd enough. Still haven't figured that one out. Had to mail in my tax forms instead.
I understand after the IRS gets scammed they issue a PIN to the real person to use with future returns. Not sure if that's the same PIN you are talking about. I hope you don't run into any more problems.

Jesda
04-11-13, 10:19 AM
Some butthole in Illinois enjoyed wireless service in my name. I had Sprint fix it.

Hoosier Daddy
04-11-13, 10:31 AM
Some butthole in Illinois enjoyed wireless service in my name. I had Sprint fix it.
Gives new meaning to someone talking out his @$$.

Glad it got straightened out.

RippyPartsDept
04-11-13, 10:38 AM
re: lifelock
http://20somethingfinance.com/lifelock-review/

Ranger
04-11-13, 10:53 AM
I was not a victim of identity theft or credit fraud; the IRS was the victim, apparently from being dumber than a rock.
The IRS doesn't really care (I think you touched on that earlier). IT'S NOT THEIR MONEY!

CadillacLuke24
04-11-13, 04:49 PM
The IRS doesn't really care (I think you touched on that earlier). IT'S NOT THEIR MONEY!

The entire government doesn't care. Not their dough, not their concern.

mhamilton
04-12-13, 08:25 AM
A few years ago when I moved to SC and was setting up electric service, I was declined and had to pay a large deposit (wtf? I just bought a house with excellent credit!) After a lot of nonsense, turned out the SC power company was the only one in years that looked up my score using Experian. Experian has to be one of the most incompetent, braindead companies I've ever dealt with. I got a 30 page credit report, 75% of which were transactions I never made. I mean these were credit cards in other people's names, a mortgage taken out 3 years before I was born, etc. They had my birth date, yet somehow decided I could I have bought a house under a different SSN before I was born?

Just last month I got a letter from the IRS, my ass of a previous employer screwed up his taxes for 2011 and filed a duplicate W2. The IRS thought I made twice as much money and wanted their refund back. Yeah, that's always fun. Got with my CPA and straightened that out, luckily only took a couple weeks with the IRS and no problems.

And to top that off, I get a call from my Mastercard company that someone tried to buy $900 worth of stuff on NewEgg, and they (luckily) flagged it as suspicious. I've only used the card in 3 places in the last 6 months, still wondering which one got my number...

Hoosier Daddy
04-12-13, 01:56 PM
A few years ago when I moved to SC and was setting up electric service, I was declined and had to pay a large deposit (wtf? I just bought a house with excellent credit!) After a lot of nonsense, turned out the SC power company was the only one in years that looked up my score using Experian. Experian has to be one of the most incompetent, braindead companies I've ever dealt with. I got a 30 page credit report, 75% of which were transactions I never made. I mean these were credit cards in other people's names, a mortgage taken out 3 years before I was born, etc. They had my birth date, yet somehow decided I could I have bought a house under a different SSN before I was born?
You didn't say if you were able to get the errors removed. 60 Minutes did a piece recently about how reports of wrong info are sent to employees who have no resources to confirm any information and no authority to correct errors even if confirmed.


Just last month I got a letter from the IRS, my ass of a previous employer screwed up his taxes for 2011 and filed a duplicate W2. The IRS thought I made twice as much money and wanted their refund back. Yeah, that's always fun. Got with my CPA and straightened that out, luckily only took a couple weeks with the IRS and no problems.
That's good.


And to top that off, I get a call from my Mastercard company that someone tried to buy $900 worth of stuff on NewEgg, and they (luckily) flagged it as suspicious. I've only used the card in 3 places in the last 6 months, still wondering which one got my number...
I have to have a credit card replaced every few years. Its almost always a restaurant employee who sells the CC info. Restaurants are about the only place you lose sight of your card. I like how AmEx accounts work. They will issue multiple cards with unique numbers for the same account. So if one gets compromised the others are still okay. And AmEx apparently has facilities in most cities to create replacement cards. When I needed a replacement, one was delivered to me next morning at no charge. Plus they double (up to an extra year) almost all new product warantys and issue refunds if a merchant won't take a purchase back. The waranty saved me some big bucks on a washing machine that broke at 18 months.

I wonder how the Newegg scam would have worked. I thought all CC companies refuse to approve purchases to be shipped to an address not on file with them. You think they knew where you lived and planned to intercept the delivery? That would greatly increase their risks. I'm sure you changed your Newegg password or got Newegg to cancel the account if you never had one, but any idea how they got your password? Or did they create a new account?

RippyPartsDept
04-12-13, 03:02 PM
Newegg (and many many online retailers) allow you to ship to a different address as long as you can confirm the billing address

Hoosier Daddy
04-12-13, 03:49 PM
Newegg (and many many online retailers) allow you to ship to a different address as long as you can confirm the billing address
AmEx says they won't approve a charge unless the shipping address is on file with them. From what you said, I guess not all CCs do that. I'd rather have that extra safety even if I have to add other shipping addresses to my account. But if you have a LOT of things shipped directly to different addresses, I guess it could be a hassle.

mhamilton
04-12-13, 03:54 PM
You didn't say if you were able to get the errors removed. 60 Minutes did a piece recently about how reports of wrong info are sent to employees who have no resources to confirm any information and no authority to correct errors even if confirmed.

Yes, after waiting a month and a half just to get the damn printed report (had to wait for that before calling), they filtered my credit history by SSN. Took all of 2 minutes on the phone to remove the erroneous entries. But why in hell they wouldn't have that done already is beyond me. I guess for them it's only credit, no need to do anything as silly as making sure the right person is in the report.



I have to have a credit card replaced every few years. Its almost always a restaurant employee who sells the CC info. Restaurants are about the only place you lose sight of your card. I like how AmEx accounts work. They will issue multiple cards with unique numbers for the same account. So if one gets compromised the others are still okay. And AmEx apparently has facilities in most cities to create replacement cards. When I needed a replacement, one was delivered to me next morning at no charge.

It's possible, I used this card at a restaurant on New Year's Eve, but also had given the number over the phone to a car dealer for some parts. No idea who was on the other end writing that info down. Guess you never really know. The latter would also have my billing address, the restaurant probably not.



I wonder how the Newegg scam would have worked. I thought all CC companies refuse to approve purchases to be shipped to an address not on file with them. You think they knew where you lived and planned to intercept the delivery? That would greatly increase their risks. I'm sure you changed your Newegg password or got Newegg to cancel the account if you never had one, but any idea how they got your password? Or did they create a new account?

No idea--I have ordered from NE before, but don't think it was my account that was compromised. Someone just tried to use the card number for their order. I guess they would have to have my address for billing, didn't really think about it. What flagged the transaction was that the buyer couldn't answer a security question related to the card.

Hoosier Daddy
04-12-13, 05:35 PM
I used this card at a restaurant on New Year's Eve, but also had given the number over the phone to a car dealer for some parts. No idea who was on the other end writing that info down. Guess you never really know. The latter would also have my billing address, the restaurant probably not.
Good point, I pretty much never do phone orders and web site orders supposedly never save the security code. But I did order the ATS sun screen by phone when the web site kept showing an empty cart on checkout due to their product number database not having this new item.

Hoosier Daddy
04-20-13, 01:17 PM
Update: still no attempts to use my ID for any credit fraud, just to get easy money from the Feds.

And I was technically wrong about the credit bureaus asking impossible questions to deny access. If you recall they asked me who did I have a car loan with in 2009. It turns out what they did was see I took out a 5 year loan in 2004 and so assumed I still had said loan in 2009. That loan was one I took out just to get an additional $1000 rebate from Chrysler. I paid the loan off the next day. I guess I should consider myself lucky that the bureaus didn't trash my credit rating for never making a single payment on the loan. LoL

rodnok01
04-20-13, 09:03 PM
I think you aare forgetting medical records, insurance companies, your employer & anyone they use for payroll/taxes etc. They prob randomly picked one....